Going to a county fair this summer? If so, you might want to do some exercise before you go. Like, oh, a marathon or something. Because if you plan on indulging in high-calorie fair food, you're going to need to either burn if off or book a room at the nearest cardiac unit.
There's no denying what you're eating, now that CalorieKing, a website with a database of nutritional information for more than 50,000 generic and brand-name foods, has come out with nutritional information on all kinds of fair and carnival delights. Available in the 2009 edition of the book "The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter," and on the website, all we'll say is, the news isn't great.
Those gargantuan smoked turkey legs with skin weigh in at 1,135 calories (each) and 54 grams of fat, a foot-long hot dog with bun is 470 calories and 26 grams of fat, and a funnel cake is 760 calories and 44 grams of fat -- that's without adding toppings. A 5-ounce fried Snickers bar is 445 calories and 29 grams of fat, a fried Twinkie is 420 calories and 34 grams of fat, and cheesecake on a stick is 655 calories and 47 grams of fat. Never has the saying, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it," been more meaningful.
To be fair, fairs have been offering more healthful items at concession stands over the years, such as grilled vegetables, fresh fruit and skinless grilled chicken. But we know that for many people, pigging out on fair food is as much a part of the experience as playing midway games or looking at all the weird breeds of chickens. But everything in moderation, folks. At least share that turkey leg with one person, if not three or four.
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo of a fried Twinkie: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times